Ryan Airlines was founded by T.Claude Ryan in 1922, and was soon engaged in conversion work on war surplus aircraft for civil use. The first original design (the M-1) was introduced in 1926, and this was followed by the M-2, the B-1 Brougham and its successors, the C-1 Foursome, and Lindbergh's NYP. In 1927 T.Claude Ryan sold Ryan Airlines to B.F.Mahoney Aircraft Corporation, later the Ryan-Mahoney Aircraft Corporation. Ryan continued with the Ryan School of Aeronautics, which had also been started in 1922.
In 1933 T.Claude Ryan re-entered the aircraft manufacturing business with the Ryan Aeronautical Company, based in San Diego. The first product was the Ryan ST (Sport-Trainer). This was a braced low-wing tandem open cockpit aircraft powered by 95hp Menasco B-4 Pirate engine. Only five were built, but they were followed by the supercharged 125hp ST-A, and the 150hp ST-A special. Production of the ST-A amounted to 71 aircraft. Following on from the ST-A was a military version, the STM. First flown on June 8, 1934, this was a single seat trainer or 'light fighter'. Produced from 1935 through to 1942, it was sold in small numbers to Latin-American countries including Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. A two seat version was sold to the Netherland East Indies as the CTM-2 and the STM-S2 seaplane. A further version, the STM-2E/P was sold to China.
The ST-A gave rise to a further family of military variants when one was evaluated by the USAAC in 1939 as the XPT-16. A contract for 15 YPT-16 evaluation aircraft followed. With minor revisions, the aircraft was introduced as the PT-20 in 1940. Re-engined with a Kinner R-440-3 radial engine in place of the Menasco inline powerplant at the request of the US army , Ryan created the STK, and using a Warner Scarab engine, the STW. Reworking the fuselage to a more circular cross section to match the radial engine, with accompanying adjustments to the tail and undercarriage resulted in the ST-3. Accepted by the USAAC, this was known in military service as the PT-21, and 100 were delivered in 1941. Similar re-engining of some of the existing YPT-16 and PT-20 airframes created the PT-16A and PT-20A. Some PT-20 aircraft had civil standard Menasco D4 engines, and were therefore designated as PT-20B. The final derivative of the ST trainer family was the PT-22 recruit. Based on the PT-21, this featured a 160hp Kinner R-540-1 engine and most distinctively, did away with the undercarriage fairings and spats. A total of 1,023 PT-22 ( or in civil guise, the ST-3KR) were produced. An undelivered order of 25 similar ST-3 aircraft for the Netherlands Air Force was taken on charge as PT-22A. The US Navy also used a Kinner R-440-3 powered version, which was designated the NR-1 Recruit (100 were delivered).
Apart from ZK-BEM, an ex-Netherlands East Indies Air Force STM S2, there is one PT-22 (appropriately registered ZK-RYN) operated in New Zealand. The aircraft, c/n 2062, came out of the San Diego factory in August 1941, and entered USAAC service as 41-20854 in February 1942. The aircraft entered the civil register as N5795, initially registered to C.Sheetz of Solon, Iowa. The aircraft has only had limited owners, being registered to T.Thoenson of Chaska, Minnesota in October 1968 and W.Witt of New Brighton, Minnesota in February 1982. In January 1993 the aircraft was acquired by Chuck Datko of Minneapolis, who set about restoring the aircraft. Although it had sat for more than 20 years, it would appear the engine was zero timed and inhibited about 1970. The aircraft was taken to Anoka County Blaine airport where the wooden spars, as well as the skins and fabric were replaced. The restored aircraft was flown to Oshkosh in 1994. There it was seen by Les Marshall, who later discovered the aircraft advertised for sale. After negotiations the aircraft was purchased by Les, with only six hours on the clock since restoration. The aircraft's total flight time at that point were believed to be only 656 hours. Having been cancelled from the US register in February 1995, the aircraft was shipped to Auckland via Seattle and Japan. The aircraft was expected to be airborne soon after arrival, but various tasks took some time. Although entered on the New Zealand register on November 1, 1996, the first flight in New Zealand did not occur until December 1998.
New Zealand' sole example is seen below while on display at the NZ Warbird Association 21st Anniversary flyin. The aircraft made its first flight in New Zealand several weeks later. The aircraft is currently based at Ardmore.
Last Text Update:- 23 March, 2000
Last Picture Update:- 28 May, 2003
This is a just a start - I intend getting more images of this aircraft. Remember to let me know if you have a request for an image of a particular part of the aircraft!
© 2000-2003 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved